France, England post group wins at Euro 2012

France put six years of finals misery behind them on Friday to beat Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine 2-0 in their Group D clash and record their first victory at a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup, where they finished runners-up.

In doing so in a match that was under threat after a dramatic thunderstorm forced it to be suspended shortly after the initial kick-off they leapfrogged Ukraine in the table.

The Euro 2000 champions were joined on four points later on Friday by England, who won a thrilling encounter against Sweden 3-2 and as a result ended Swedish interest with regards to reaching the last eight.

France, who extended their unbeaten run under Laurent Blanc to 23 games, had fought out an uninspiring 1-1 draw with England in their first game but were in more adventurous form against the Ukrainians.

However, they had to wait till the second-half for their efforts to be rewarded as goals by Jeremy Menez - who had been preferred to Florent Malouda - and Yohan Cabaye secured the three points.

It left Blanc not only relieved that the match had gone ahead and pleased to have put themselves in an excellent position to progress but also waxing lyrical over Paris Saint Germain winger Menez's performance.

"(Menez) is someone who needs confidence but he has an increasingly rare quality, which is the ability to play behind the opposition defence.

"We knew Ukraine would leave space. They try to play football -- it's the philosophy of their coach -- but they leave lots of space. Jeremy is a quick player and he was able to exploit it.

"He still needs international experience but tonight was very encouraging for him."

His Ukraine counterpart Oleg Blokhin was left disappointed by the home fans' booing of the team and also his players seemingly giving up after France scored their second.

"I didn't like the way that, after the second goal, my team stopped playing," said the 59-year-old former Ballon d'Or winner.

"We conceded the first goal from a counter-attack and everything went wrong from that moment. We couldn't predict it. And then we conceded the second goal and it was all over."

England made life difficult themselves before the introduction of Theo Walcott for the ineffective James Milner on the hour turned the game, the Arsenal star scoring to make it 2-2 three minutes after he came on.

He then turned provider, though, Danny Welbeck's goal owed much to the scorer's brilliant improvised back heel.

England manager Roy Hodgson, who has now overseen three wins and a draw in his four matches in charge since being the surprise choice to replace Fabio Capello, said that this was a worthy win against a good side.

"I must emphasise we've got a good victory against a team with a lot of experience and experience in tournament football," Hodgson told BBC radio.

Hodgson also has the bonus of being able to call on Wayne Rooney - who was suspended for the first two games - for the final group game against Ukraine and joked what might happen if he were to ignore him.

"If I did make the decision to leave him out all hell would break loose in the dressing room," he said.

Hodgson's Swedish counterpart Erik Hamren had called his players cowards after their 2-1 defeat by Ukraine but he had no complaints this time.

"We showed the attitude I wanted to see. I am proud of my players," said the 54-year-old, who has been in the job since 2009.

"But to win one must have a little luck. We did so on our first (a Glen Johnson own goal) but over the two matches we were lacking it.

"They were a lot more effective than us. I feel really really bad for the players. I am responsible for the team, and I assume my responsiblities for this result."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • From Space, Typhoon Maysak's Eye Looks Like a Black Hole (Photo)
    From Space, Typhoon Maysak's Eye Looks Like a Black Hole (Photo)

    It seemed like a black hole from a Sci-Fi movie," NASA astronaut Terry Virts wrote on Twitter. Virts and his fellow astronauts have been posting pictures of the typhoon, which is expected to hit the Philippines this weekend if it doesn't change course. "Commands respect even from space," wrote Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency who launched into space with Virts in November. As of 11 a.m. EdT today (1500 GMT), the super typhoon was 223 miles (359 km) …

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options